Top 4 WORST Reasons to Strength Train/BodyBuild

“Worst Reasons to Strength Train? I thought this training stuff was supposed to be good for me?”


There are innumerable reasons to get into any of the many variations of resistance training that exist (improved muscle strength, improved mobility/balance, weight management, risk reduction of certain chronic diseases, increased stamina, increased quality of life, improved self esteem, eased symptoms of depression and anxiety) and that’s only naming a few.

Even with all the positive motivators that exist to get into resistance training, it’s still common to see individuals fall into mental pitfalls with training. When these more negative motivators take over as the main driver for working out is when you will most often see an individual form an unhealthy relationship with training.

Where you should have an activity which is on some level fun, lighthearted, and enjoyable (unless burpees are involved) you get a situation where negativity, pessimism, anger, or feeling like you’re not “enough” rule each training session.

(Overthinking your fitness goals? Check out this article!)

AMRAP Lions Den Elite Training 1

1. Weights for Dates <3

Okay, this is a lighthearted enough reason to get into training.

If answering truthfully, I’d wager this reasoning would make up a majority of people’s responses for getting into some form of physical activity in the first place.

Might not be the main driver now, but at some point everyone’s had that thought of making their transformation to a dream body which net’s them whatever admiration it is they are looking for in life.

No problem.

What becomes a problem is the mindset that a perfect body is the only thing that’s going to net you attention or the love of your life some day.

“Genuine connection? Human emotion? Nah bro I’ve got abs.”

First thing, stop putting so much weight on how you look to other’s and start putting more attention into areas that genuinely matter.

“Do I connect well with other’s?” “Do I do my best to spread genuine kindness and gratitude?” “Do I allow myself to unwind and have fun at social gathering’s?” “Do I have a healthy viewpoint of myself?”

Second, let’s say your game plan does work and you manage to attract someone into your life off of your greek god/goddess physique alone. Impressive.

However, is that the relationship you truly want? You cool with having a connection solely because someone likes the way you look? What happens if down the line you loose said sculpted physique, are they gonna stick around?

Lions Den Elite Training H.I.I.T.

When the drive for a “perfect body” to attract other’s attention becomes a persons prime motivator it usually manifests itself in downright obsession over training. This is when anything and everything that could get in the way of a training session get’s cancelled. Where every minute detail of a training program has to be micromanaged. When you can’t go out to hang with friends because that’s going to mess with your eating schedule.

There’s nothing wrong with being rigid about your fitness (competitive strength sport athletes almost have no choice) however, really take the time to ask yourself where that motivation is coming from. Am I doing this for me? Or is this all for someone else?

2. Tough Guy Mentality

#alpha #hardtokill #grinddontstop

We get it. You pick up pieces of metal.

Look, I love the raw and natural aggression that can come with resistance training. Getting hyped up about a lift and letting loose with some high energy during a training session, awesome. Letting out a yell and maybe even embellishing with a little weight slam on the way down for a new PR, awesome. Jamming out with some friends to the sound of loud music and slamming weights, awesome.


…lifting does not make you a badass. It does not make you a warrior charging into battle. It does not make you better than non-lifters.

You can choose to be a badass in your life if you want 100%. But lifting is never going to be that “thing” that get’s you there.


Frontline emergency services, badass. Military members protecting their country, badass. Healthcare worker’s and scientists trying to better society, badass. Individual’s doing everything they can with their lives to give back to others, badass.

Lifting on your specially knurled barbell, in an air conditioned room, with your perfectly calibrated plates…cool hobby no doubt. But it’s not what makes you, you.

“You are not how much you can deadlift”

One of my favorite effects that lifting can have for someone is a genuine boost to their confidence and self esteem. Resistance training or just being physically active for that matter can definitely give an otherwise unconfident individual a little more swagger in their step. I’m all for it.

But never get caught up in this idea that resistance training is somehow making you better than others, more dominant or alpha, or a bigger and badder “tough guy”

Making a show out of yourself in the gym to garner attention is the opposite of “tough guy” mentality.

A true “tough guy” doesn’t have to go around proving to everyone he’s a tough guy. Stay humble.

3.  Feelings of Inadequacy

You are enough.

I repeat.

You are enough. As you are, in this exact moment, you are enough.

Once again, I love the genuine confidence and self esteem boost that can come with training. I love helping people reach their idea of a “dream body”. And I love the positive quality of life boosts that inherently follow someone who begins to get physically active.

However, do not for a second believe that you are not enough as a human being because you aren’t as lean as that person who work’s out all the time. You aren’t enough because you can’t run as fast, or jump as high as that person. You aren’t enough because you don’t lift as much as that other person.

I’m here to tell you there’s no “aha” moment in training where you finally reach some peak of physical fitness that you finally feel you deserve your own admiration.


The common misconception you’ll see is people think they just have to hit a certain goal and then they’ll be happy.

“Oh I just have to deadlift this much weight” or “I just have to hit such and such bodyfat %” or “Once my arms reach a certain size”…I’ll be happy

But it simply never ends up being enough.

Will resistance training boost self esteem and your confidence levels? Certainly.

However, it’s never going to give you that feeling of “I’m enough”. That’s all on you.

You have to be willing to love yourself on the sole basis of loving yourself and for no other reason than that.

Otherwise, you are just going to keep training and training wondering when that self respect is going to pop into your life.

4. Spite

“My significant other just broke up with me so I’m going to get the best body ever so they know they made a mistake.”

“No one believes in me, I’m going to prove all these haters wrong.”

“I’m going to get big and strong then they’ll have to pay attention to me.”

Resistance training is a fantastic way to blow off some steam. In fact, I actively encourage it over what could be multiple other, far more destructive coping mechanisms.

Likewise, I can also understand having a chip on your shoulder and wanting to do something about it.

But much like lifting can’t solve a general feeling of inadequacy, it also can’t get rid of your anger unless you choose to let it go.

It is a great first step in channeling those initial raw emotions. But the more you are coming into the gym angry, the more you are letting those feelings spike with every training session, you’re not solving the problem. Just feeding into it.

Joey Szatmary Low Stress Week Clean and Jerk SzatStrength

At most lifting should be a stepping stone for you to naturally move on through these situations.

You broke up? Okay, work on yourself. Allow yourself the proper amount of time needed to move on. Then move on to bigger and better things.

You feel slighted. That’s natural. Understand that the steps you need to take moving forwards should be in betterment of yourself. Not proving something to other’s.

You want respect? Gain it. Being bigger and stronger doesn’t equal insta-respect. Being confident, personable, and honest will though.


While there are so many awesome and legitimate reasons to resistance train, it can often end up being used to attempt to fix a situation it was never meant to repair in the first place. These are what can make up some of the worst reasons to strength train. It’s okay to slip in and out of these motivators from time to time but you want to do your best to see to it that you aren’t sitting in any one of these more negative motivators for too long. At the end of the day you want your training to be feeding into an overall positive experience and positive emotions. Not only will this help you achieve better results, but it’s also going to keep you in this for the long haul.

(Check out this video for more on training philosophy!)




Matt Molloy

Matt Molloy

I'm a graduate the University of Pittsburgh with a major in Exercise Science. I’m a local guy (North Penn) and athletics has dominated my life. I've led teams in basketball, baseball, soccer, golf and my passion, long distance running. I've been strength training for 6 years with a focus in power-lifting but have recently stretched to strongman since joining the pride here at the Den. When I’m not in the gym I enjoy, spending time with my friends, music, and relaxing and playing some video games.